What you need to know about Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel

CHICAGO (12/20/2022) — A classic fairytale returns to life as Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel comes to Lyric Opera of Chicago in a universally acclaimed production, back by popular demand for six performances, January 25–February 3, 2023. This ever-fresh, whimsical masterpiece is packed with musical gems—and still-relevant moral lessons—that make it a wonderful introduction to opera for all audiences, and is brought to the stage at a level of artistic excellence that only Lyric can deliver.

When this production debuted at Lyric in the 2001/02 Season, it captivated Chicago audiences with its daringly original storytelling. It did the same in 2012/13, and this season it returns once again to transport audiences to a strange and twisted world of discovery. Humperdinck’s comforting and nostalgic score is magnified by the production’s modern and sweetly grotesque set design and is performed by an outstanding cast of singers.

Return of the maestro. Hansel and Gretel heralds the return of Sir Andrew Davis for his first operatic production since he retired as Lyric’s music director in 2021 after more than 20 celebrated seasons in the role. Last season at Lyric, he led the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus in a rousing performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

A decadent delight. The work of visionary director Richard Jones returns to Lyric following his production of Lyric’s The Queen of Spades in the 2019/20 Season. Revival director Eric Einhorn interprets Jones’s original vision for today’s Chicago audiences. Hansel and Gretel features the astonishing set and costume design of John Macfarlane, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, and the original choreography of Linda Dobell.

A wickedly sweet cast. The opera’s iconic characters are brought to vivid life by a world-class cast full of new and familiar faces. Rising star Samantha Hankey, who recently sang the role of Prince Charming in Cinderella at the Metropolitan Opera, makes her Lyric debut as Hansel. Heidi Stober, who was last seen at Lyric in Ariodante during the 2018/19 Season, is Gretel, a signature role she has performed at the Met and at San Francisco Opera. Jill Grove, a beloved Lyric star of more than a dozen operas, reprises her spellbinding portrayal of The Witch that she first sang at Lyric in the 2012/13 Season.

Alexandra LoBianco, who has sung several leading roles at the Vienna State Opera and was last seen at Lyric in Elektra in the 2018/19 Season, is the Mother. Alfred Walker, who has gained rapid international praise for his commanding performances of a variety of leading roles, makes his Lyric debut as the Father, a role he has recently performed in San Francisco. Rounding out the cast is Denis Vélez, a third-year Ensemble member of Lyric’s acclaimed artist-development program—The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center—who sings the roles of the Sandman and the Dew Fairy.

Follow the breadcrumbs. Uniting Voices Chicago (formerly Chicago Children’s Choir) once again returns to the Lyric stage, fielding a children’s chorus of 30 sparkling young voices under the direction of children’s chorus master Josephine Lee.

A deliciously dark fairytale. This rivetingly modern, astonishingly inventive view of the Brothers Grimm’s fairytale does full justice to Humperdinck’s glorious score.

Important to know

  • Six chances to see Hansel and Gretel: January 25, 27, 29m, February 1m, 3, and 5m, 2023.
  • A total running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, including one intermission.
  • Sung in German, with easy-to-follow English translations projected above the stage.
  • Co-production of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Welsh National Opera.
  • For more information and to order tickets, visit lyricopera.org/hansel or call 312.827.5600.
  • For updated information about Lyric’s ongoing initiatives regarding health and safety protocols, visit lyricopera.org/safety.

Lyric’s presentation of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel is generously made possible by ITW.

About Lyric

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Enrique Mazzola, and Special Project Advisor Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from, the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration, and evolving learning opportunities, ever-more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center; and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming, and artists—magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

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